Most articles I’ve read, on education, discuss how education is affected or enhanced by technology. This weeks readings were refreshing to me as they talk about not what exists but what could exist with respect to technology and education. What I’m talking about specifically is the discussion on Personal Learning Environments (PLE). Attwell states, “yet for all the talk there was no consensus on what a Personal Learning Environment might be,” (Attwell, 2007). This statement got me thinking about the different possibilities for a PLE. For instance, what if technology wasn’t limiting us? Or, what would a PLE look like in the future? It didn’t take me long before one of my favourite television shows answered that question for me.
As a teenager, one of the most common questions asked was, “if you had one wish, what would it be?” The answers were varied, but obvious: a million dollars, to have super hero powers, and to live forever. My answer was slightly different, I wanted a Holodeck. And still do! A Holodeck is a computer simulated environment, where anything could be created and goes beyond the confines of the wall (or appears too). This room exists…but only in science fiction, made famous by Star Trek. I remember in one episode of Star Trek, the commander walked into the Holodeck and said, “Computer. Paris, France. 1850.” All of a sudden the walls, floor and ceiling of the room disappeared, and the commander was now standing on a computer simulated street in downtown Paris, France. Birds were chirping, people talking and walking around, it was so real to the user. When I saw this as a kid, my mind was racing with all the different possibilities one could use a Holodeck for: being a pilot on an X-Wing fighter, having a lightsaber battle against evil Sith, learning about the Universe with my personal teacher Albert Einstein, etc., etc. It sounds silly, but if I was to use a Holodeck for those purposes, I would have learned aviation, teamwork, physical health, martial arts, collaboration, quantum mechanics, and astrophysics, to name a few. And I was just 12 years old when I desired this. Think of all the possibilities for kids today if they had their very own Holodeck? “The idea of the PLE purports to include and bring together all learning, including informal learning, workplace learning, learning from the home, learning driven by problem solving and learning motivated by personal interest as well as learning through engagement in formal educational programmes,” (Attwell, 2007). A Holodeck accomplishes all these tasks, and in my opinion is, theoretically, the ultimate Personal Learning Environment.
But unfortunately, a Holodeck doesn’t exist. So, what can we learn from this?
-Maybe this example could give us guidelines or direction when we do envision or create an effective PLE?
-I would argue that our ‘second self’ wouldn’t exist anymore (Case, TED). Because our physical bodies are surrounded by the digitally created environment, in which we interact with as though it where real.
-Safety is controlled by a computer, not a teacher or guardian.
-Students are having fun, and learning more than they every could in a classroom.
-That a PLE is not only an educational tool for learning, but a tool for us to create with.
Video: Amber Case: We are all cyborgs now, TED Conferences http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/amber_case_we_are_all_cyborgs_now.html
Attwell, G. (2007). Personal learning environments – the future of eLearning? eLearning Papers, 2(1). Retrieved from http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:ptS3B7qa2z4J:scholar.google.com/+personal+learning+networks&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_vis=1